Tight hips are a common symptom of modern sedentary culture. Sitting in chairs alone causes a predictable group of muscles to tighten up and cause stiffness in the hips. Read on to learn how to release tight hips and why deep tissue massage could be the key to unlocking flexible, pain free hips.
Causes & Symptoms Of Tight Hips
Tight hips are commonly a direct symptom of spending too much time sitting in chairs. When sitting, the muscles on the front of the body shorten and tense up. The muscles in the upper and outer thigh in particular shorten a lot. When sitting for ~10 hours per day, every day, the constant muscle shortness can lead to constant tightness and tension in these areas. To use an analogy: imagine holding your elbows in a flexed position at 90 degrees for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you can imagine, your elbows and biceps wouldn't be too loose or happy.
The chief symptoms of tight hips are tightness and tension in the front of the upper legs. This can hinder overall leg flexibility and cause a lot of pain in and around these areas. A few other symptoms of tight hips can include:
- Difficulty standing up straight after sitting for a long time
- Discomfort arching and extending the low back
- Stiffness during the leg extension (back-kick) portion of running
Culprit Muscles Of Tight Hips
Tight hips can feel like an intimidating, unknown phenomenon, but the problem can be boiled down to 3 specific muscles that commonly tighten up and cause pain. These 3 muscles are the Psoas, Iliacus, and Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL). All 3 muscles are known as hip flexors - muscles that function in lifting the knee to the chest. The section is going to briefly go through these 3 muscles that contribute to tight hips.
Psoas: The Psoas muscle is a large hip flexor on the front of the body. Psoas connects from the lumbar vertebrae, goes through your guts, and connects to the top of the femur. Psoas gets tight and angry from excess sitting, and can also contribute to a lot of low back pain when tight .
Iliacus: The Iliacus muscle is also a hip flexor on the front of the body that can contribute to a ton of low back pain and hip tightness when tight . Iliacus is nearly identical in function to Psoas, and both muscles can be referred to together as the Iliopsoas complex. Iliacus connects from the inside of the pelvis to the top of the femur, as shown in the image below.
Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL): The TFL muscle is a hip flexor on the outer thigh. TFL connects from the outer top of the hip to the outside of the knee, as shown in the image below. The TFL contains the IT Band, a long tendon that runs down the thigh all the way to the knee. TFL is typically strong and tight in runners, due to its additional function is single-leg stability.
TFL Hip Muscle
How To Release The Tight Hip Muscles
To release tight hips, we want to apply deep tissue massage to the specific muscles that are tight. Effective deep tissue massage will break up any knots, trigger points, and constant tension that brings tightness, pain, and stiffness to the hips . If done correctly, this will eliminate the constant muscle tension in the hips, and open your hips to a new flexibility and pain-free life. Deep tissue massage can be done on tight hips by a physical or massage therapist, or by a targeted massage tool like QL Claw.
QL Claw Hip Muscle Release Tool
How To Release Tight Hips Using QL Claw
QL Claw is the most versatile massage tool on the market. It was designed to release muscles in the low back, hips, and glutes that contribute to pain and tightness in the body. QL Claw can magnificently release the Psoas, Iliacus, and TFL muscle pain like none other.
Check out the QL Claw tutorials on how to release these muscles to unlock your hips today!
 Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.